Hey Teens!

Love animals and kids? Passionate about wildlife and conservation? Want to help others appreciate the natural world? Got a knack for talking to groups? Have some time to give? Then check out the coolest opportunity for teens in St. Louis -- Zoo ALIVE!

Zoo ALIVE is the Saint Louis Zoo’s volunteer educator program for high school age students. (ALIVE stands for Active Leaders In Volunteer Education.) Zoo ALIVE volunteers:

  • Help Education Department staff members deliver weekend programs for children -- including preschool classes, youth programs, and scout overnights.
  • Lead educational activities for Zoo visitors.
  • Help with our awesome summer camp program, Camp KangaZoo.
  • Assist with birthday parties, and outreach programs.
  • Go on hiking and camping trips to explore nature and wildlife.
  • Help with the Zoo's conservation programs.
  • Learn all about the Zoo, its animals, and more!

Who can join?

Teens who will be at least 15 years old before volunteering in June 2016 may apply for the Zoo ALIVE program. We are seeking mature, responsible teens with an aptitude for leadership. Applicants should enjoy working with children, and should be interested in animals and conservation. No experience is necessary, but you must be willing to try new things, work together with members of our diverse group, and be an excellent representative of our world-class organization. Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to lead discussions and demonstrate activities to groups of children and adults, so good communication skills are a must. Enthusiasm, confidence and a positive attitude are required!


We expect a lot from the young adults in this program. It is rewarding for us and can be life-changing for the teens who rise to the challenge. If you are wondering if your teen is ready for this program, please click here to see our expectations.

How much time is required?

All Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to attend a monthly meeting throughout the year, usually held the first Sunday of each month from 5 – 7 p.m. At the meeting, volunteers receive training for upcoming volunteer opportunities and learn about current events and happenings at the Zoo or with the environment. Teens create and give presentations about environmental topics of their interest. There is also time to socialize and get to know other volunteers. 

Besides the meeting, volunteers are asked to donate their time for at least two Zoo activities per month for at least one whole year. New Zoo ALIVE volunteers are also required to attend an orientation/training day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (either Saturday, June 4 or Friday, June 10) and volunteer for two consecutive weeks at Camp KangaZoo, the Zoo's summer day camp. (The first monthly meeting for new volunteers is Sunday, June 5, 2016, from 5-7 p.m.)

Can I volunteer just for the summer?

Zoo ALIVE is a year-round program, which requires at least one full year commitment. Visit Volunteer for other Zoo volunteer opportunities.

What else is required?

All Zoo volunteers -- including Zoo ALIVE teens -- must pass a background check. Volunteers must agree to follow all of the Zoo's volunteer policies and procedures, including dress code and code of conduct. We communicate using email, so Zoo ALIVE teens must have an email account that they can check regularly. Most volunteer opportunities take place at the Zoo, so you must have reliable transportation.

A mandatory Parent Orientation meeting will be held for parents and guardians of new volunteers Sunday, June 5, 3 - 4:30 p.m., right before the first meeting with volunteers.

How do I Apply?

We accept 20 to 30 new Zoo ALIVE members each year, based on your application and an in-person interview on Sunday, March 13.

The Zoo ALIVE application is due no later than March 3. Application materials may be sent via email or by mail to:


Eve Cooney, Saint Louis Zoo Education Department
1 Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110

1. Application

The deadline for this year’s Zoo ALIVE application March 3, 2016, and includes several components:

  • Proof of Age (Photocopy or scan of one of the following: Passport, Driver's License, State ID, Permanent Resident Card, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, or Refugee Travel Document)
    May be sent via email or by mail.
  • Request for Child Abuse or Neglect/Criminal Record (1 page)
    Must be sent by mail

    Please complete form for either Missouri or Illinois according to your residency. The Saint Louis Zoo will send the completed form and fees on your behalf; do not submit the form yourself. Include your signature in ink where indicated. This form must be sent by mail; we cannot accept this form via email.
  • If you are under 16, work certificate/permit is REQUIRED
    Must be sent by mail

    MO Residents:
    Please use the linked forms and follow the instructions below. You must complete TWO work certificates, "Non-School Term" and "School Term."

    MO Work Certificate Process:
    1. Complete all fields in Section A only and mail with your other application materials.
    2. The Saint Louis Zoo will complete Section B and return the form to you via mail.
    3. The form must then be taken to the authorized representative of your school for completion. Please see the Instruction Sheet on the back of the certificate form for a list of authorized representatives.
    4. Following completion of Section C, return the fully completed form via mail to Eve Cooney at the address listed above. We cannot accept this form via email.

    IL Residents:
    Request a work permit form from your local IL public school's student services office. Complete all fields and send the form with your other application materials to the address below. If your local IL public school's student services office has switched to a paperless IL work permit system, request 2 printouts, retain one for your records and send one to the address listed above.

2. Group Interview

Group interviews will be held at the Zoo on Sunday, March 13, 2016.

Group interviews will be held in 2 sessions, 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m. All applicants are required to attend one group interview session, no exceptions.

There are a limited number of positions, so not all applicants can be accepted into the program. We hope that you will find the application and interview process valuable, even if you are not accepted. Final selections will be made and applicants will be notified in April.

For more information, please call our Youth Programs Coordinator Eve Cooney at (314) 646-4563, or e-mail her at cooney@stlzoo.org.